Chronic health journey recap: hardships, connections and gifts

Illnesses stop us in our tracks and call time on the old ways of being that no longer fit who we are. Often, they are an invitation to look deep into the corners of our life and do some real work…the kind of work that brings us into love and acceptance of who we really are, beyond the stories and expectations that get overlayered by our crazy and demanding lives. Often, there is an opportunity to be found in our own disarray and, once we find it there, it doesn’t stop giving…not ever, for the rest of our lives.

Present tense only

Our mind grabs onto any chance to rewind the clock, to get stuck into a ripping yarn about something that happened ages ago, weaving an elaborate story like a fireside pro. Before we know it, we’ve lost all our headway and that powerful, spacious, calm feeling we clawed back from our thoughts during a few moments of mindfulness or yoga, even just sitting watching the birds from our chair, is lost in favour of telling our story, yet again. So how do we stay there more often than not?

Getting down to the root of my fibromyalgia

If recovery from chronic illness is like a long-running detective story, with us as its protagonist, this year has felt like one of those chapters that make sense of quite a few things in a series of "a-ha" moments. And though what I have learned in quick succession may very-well have overwhelmed me, it has also enlightened me as in TO LIGHT ME UP with a new degree of self-appreciation and awareness, also clarity as to how certain root circumstances click together to make chronic illness what it is.

Moving more, not less

My physical foibles (labelled such things as EDS and chronic pain) don't render me unentitled to a gloriously reimagined health future but even more prone to be open minded and eager enough to embark on the journey because there are no rules where I dwell, it is all a giant leap in the dark so why not make it a leap towards what I prefer to envision and thus create. The first step is to make friends with movement...

Shake it off!

Shaking the body is how wild animals get rid of stress from their bodies...straight after the trigger event...which is why they don't suffer PTSD but what about humans? Here's a simple daily practice that not only shakes off what you don't want but re-energises every cell in the body (something we could all use right now), it takes just a few moments, can be done anywhere and is free!

Religious practice to get us through (no, NOT what you think)

Adopting healthy habits is the thing that will get us all through this challenging phase and so here's the point I'm making here: The religious practice I speak of here is nothing to do with attending "church" (we need to reclaim that association back, to re-empower ourselves), its to do with devotion…to one's self, one's life…and the conscientious, faithful practice of observances that affirm one's existence as spirit in human form (a long way around of saying “health”); and on this topic I have much to say.

Under pressure: the EDS anxiety link

Hard science has uncovered a mechanism whereby the same collagen abnormalities in EDS that make joints especially flexible seem to affect blood vessels, making those with it prone to accumulation of blood in the veins of the legs, an effect that may lead to exaggerated cardiovascular responses to maintain the output of blood from the heart. This and other foibles, which I feel are versions of the same response, put those of us with this issue under immense pressure and strain, all the time, as our version of "normal" so just imagine how much we then react to any additional triggers, to which we tend to be hypersensitive (I share my about theory about that too...), setting off our nervous system at regular intervals in a way that has nothing inherently to do with mental health...although, no surprise, it can start to manifest as anxiety over time. Joining some dots and celebrating just how much people with hypermobility type EDS deal with as their daily benchmark...plus some practical ways of making it better.